Census History In Iran

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					             21th Population Census Conference

            Analysis of the 2000 Round of Censuses

             Kyoto, Japan, 19 - 21 November 2003

1996 National Population and Housing
Census in the Islamic Republic of Iran


                     Taha Nourollahi



                    Behrouz Hamrahi

   Department of Household Socio - Economic Statistics

             Statistical Centre of Iran (SCI)
Contents                                                 Page

1. Country Overview                                       1
1.1. Geography                                            1
1.2. Population                                           2
1.2.1. Literacy and Education                             3
1.2.2. Marital Status                                     3
1.2.3. Activity Status                                    4
1.2.4. Mortality and Fertility                            4
2. Population Census History in Iran                      5
3. Preparation for the Census                             6
4. Pilot Census                                           7
5. Training                                               8
i) Training in Census execution                           8
ii) Training in data processing                           8
iii) Training for administrative and financial affairs    9
6. Information items                                      9
i) Individual information                                 9
ii) Household and housing information                    10
iii) Information on places                               10
iv) Information on establishments                        10
v) Information on villages                               10
7. Geographic Coverage                                   11
8. Population Coverage and applied method                11
9. Publicity                                             12
i) Auditory means                                        12
Contents                                                            Page

ii) Visual means                                                     13
iii) Printed matters                                                 13
iv) The Islamic Republic News Agency                                 13
v) Friday Prayers                                                    14
vi) Other means of publicity                                         14
10. Preparation of questionaire forms                                14
11. Census Enumeration of Unsettled Households                       15
12. Census Organization                                              16
13. International Standard Classification                            18
14. Data processing plan                                             19
15. Post Enumeration survey (PES)                                    19
16. Publication of the Census Results                                21
17. Using Census results                                             21

1. Country Overview :

1.1. Geography :

      The Islamic Republic of Iran is in South – West Asia and is part of

the Middle – East countries. Iran is bounded in the north by Republics of

Azarbaijan, Armenistan and Turkmenistan and Caspian Sea; in the south by

the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman; in the east by Afghanistan and

Pakistan and in the west by Turkey and Iraq.
      The total area of country is 1.65 million square kilometers, ranking

16th in the world. About one half Iran’s land consists of mountains and one

quarter desert. Leaving only 25 percent as arable land. The average

population density is 37per one square kilometer.

      In 2002, administrative divisions of Iran consisted of 28 provinces,

which were subdivided into township and districts. Each township consists

of several cities and rural districts. Capital of Iran is Tehran. Iran has a

complex extreme climate ranging from sub-tropical to sub-polar.

1.2. Population :

      Iran has a multi – lingual and diverse cultural society. The official

language is Farsi (Persian) and other languages such as Azari, Kurdish,

Luri, Arabic, Gilaki, Baluchi, Armenian.

      According to the results obtained from latest census (October 1996)

Iran’s population is estimated to be 60055488, of which 49.0 % are female

and 51.0 % are male, is the 18th most populous nation in the world.

      The urban and rural population comprises 61.0 % and 39.0 %

respectiverly. The population of Iran extremely young with over 39.6 %

under 15 years and only 4.3 % over 65. The population growth rate an
estimated 1.46 % per year in 1996. Substantial refugees in Iran from

Afghanistan and Iraq after 1979, also resulted for the rapidgrowth of

populate. Based on the analysis of the 1996 census, the population growth

rate for urban has been approximately 4 times that of rural areas.

1.2.1. Literacy and Education :

      In the recent past, Iran has experienced substantial improvement in

literacy and in the preportion of the population completing primary

education. In 2002, nearly 80.0 % of the population aged 15 years and

older are literate. This rate in urban areas is 86.0 % and in rular areas is

70.2 % . About, 96.0 % of population aged 6-14 enrolled in the education

system .

1.2.2. Marital Status :

      In 2002, of the total population 15 years of age and over, 59.7 % of

males and 68.4 % of females had been married at least once. The mean age

first marriage for females and males in 2002 was 23.7 and 26.4 years

1.2.3. Activity Status :

      Acording to the 2002 Labour Force Survey (LFS), more than 44.1 %

of the population aged 15 and over classified as economically active. The

activity rate for males and females in 2002 was 72.6 % and 13.0 %


1.2.4. Mortality and Fertility :

      Recent declines in mortality levels have tended to offset the effect of

declining fertility on the growth rate. Mortality in Iran is characterized by

relatively, high infant mortality and low levels of adult mortality. Recent

data indicate that approximately 1 baby of every 31 born in Iran will be die

befor reaching the first year of life. The life expectatian at birth for females

and males in 2002 was 70.5 and 68.0 years respectively. The crude death

rate was 6.3 per 1000 population in 2001 .

Iranian fertility has undergone along and slow decline in the last 25 to 30

years. Factors contributing to this decline probably include the pace of

modernization and government efforts since in 1967 in the area of family

planning. Till 2001, the country had a crude birth rate of 18.3

corresponding total fertility rate of slightly over 2.5 children per women.
2. Population Census History In Iran :

       In Iran, the actual scientific population and housing census

conducted once in every ten years since 1956 and according to the law, it is

the responsibility of statistical centre of Iran (SCI). The first national

census of population and housing was conducted by General Department of

Public Statistics in 1956, The second, third and fourth censuses were

conducted in 1966, 1976 and 1986 by SCI. The 1996 census which was

conducted all around the country in October – November (23 Oct. – 16

Nov.) as scheduled, was the second under the Islamic Republic of Iran

(table 1) .

          Table 1.

                                                   Total census
              Census year           Date

                 1956         1 Nov. to 16 Nov.       27607

                 1966         30 Oct. to 19 Nov.      12885

                 1976         30 Oct. to 18 Nov.      29854

                 1986         8 Oct. to 22 Oct.       55850

                 1996         23 Oct. to 16 Nov.      61459
3. Preparation for the Census :

      Preparation of most of the activities designed for the census were

started in 1994, 2 years before the census. Immediately after the execution

of the pilot census enumeration, along range of work was under taken to

assess the plan and prepar the final census plan.

   The following achievements are some of the activities performed:

   ! Preparation of the final tabulation outline.

   ! Preparation of census questionnaire forms including forms 1, 2, 3

      and 5.

   ! Determination of executive organization and estimated manpower


   ! Preparation of technical, executive and financial forms.

   ! Arrangement of training programmes.

   ! Preparation of data processing programmes.

   ! Preparation of maps for places of 2 to 5 thousand population.

   ! Updating and correcting the maps of all the urban and rural areas.

   ! Conduction of household enumeration to prepare the grounds for

      delimitation of maps.

   ! Procurement of necessary supplies.
   ! Making preparations for data processing the census results.

   ! Making statistical classifications.

4. Pilot Census :

      The pilot census plan was introduced and approved due to an urgent

need for updated data felt in planning organs of the country.

      Due to the wide variety of climatic, socio – economic and cultural

conditions in Iran, choice of areas for pilot census enumeration was of great

importance. With these considerations in view the Executive Group of the

census headquarters selected six districts (shahrestans) as areas to be

enumerated for pilot census. Problems and difficulties peculiar to these

areas and ensuing from their social, economic and natural conditions could

represent a part of the most important troubles lying in the census

enumeration of similar areas.

      Pilot census of these districts (shahrestans) was designed in such a

way that all census activities from preparatory work to publication of

results were tested so that deficiencies and shortcomings in every stage of

designing and execution might be detected and removed.
5. Training :

   In order to obtain correct and accurate data, all the responsible persons,

enumerators and other census personnel should be closely familiar with all

the definitions and concepts used in the questionnaires and technical,

executive, financial and adminstrative forms and instructions.

   For this purpose, eductional programmes were held at three stages for

census execution, data processing, administrative and financial affairs.

   i)     Training in census execution :

   Training in census execution, including the three stages of training in

Tehran, training in the province (ostan) and training in district (shahrestan).

   ii)    Training in data processing :

   For this purpose, classes were held in Tehran to teach coding procedures

to deputies from provinces (ostans) and districts, (shahrestans) who would

teach the same procedures to enumerators and other coding personnel on

return to their relevant districts (shahrestans) .
   iii)   Training for administrative and financial affairs :

          a) Training was held in Tehran and Provinces (ostans) .

6. Information items :

   Items of questionnaire were obtained according to requests or users as

govermental organization and NGO. To determine the items, experiences

of previous censuses of Iran and other countries were employed. General

titles of information collected in the 1996 census were as follows:

   i)     Individual information:

   Age, sex, relationship to the head the household, citizenship, religion,

migration, place of residence 10 years ago, literacy, educational attainent,

marital status activity status during the previous week, economic activity

status, employment status, duration unemployment.

   To enrich the national data base, the identify card number and

serial number were included among the items.
   ii)    Household and housing information:

   Type of household, facilities and utilities available to the household,

type of housing unit, number of rooms in the housing unit, number of

rooms occupied by the household, main sources of water used by the

household, type of fuel used for cooking and heating, principal construction

materials used in the housing unit, the year when construction of the

housing unit was completed, mortality, disability.

   iii)   information on places:

   Habitation Status and type of place.

   iv)    Information on establishments:

   Name and activity.

   v)     Information on villages:

   Habitation statues, number of household residing in the village, type of

road, cultural and health care bulidings located in the village, treatment

facilities available and centres located in the village, communication
facilities and installations, services and commercial facilities and loctions,

radio and television coverage in the village.

7. Geographic Coverage:

   The 1996 census of population and housing covered the territory of the

Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran). To ensure full geographical

coverage, particular attention has been paid to provision of up – to – date


8. Population coverage and applied method:

   All the households residing in the country, whether Iranian nationals or

foreign residents, with the exception of members of diplomatic crops and

their families, were to enumerated.

   The method applied for the enumeration of regular settled households in

the 1996 census was “ de jure “ enumerator compass. Tribal population on

the move and unsettled households who have no fixed residence were

enumerated wherever they were met by enumerators.

   Transit passengers and travellers staying in hotels, guest – houses, inns,

caravanserais and the like were not to be enumerated. But households
residing in these places who had no other place of residence were

enumerated at the same place.

9. Publicity:

   A wide range of publicity programme have been prepared to attract

public attention and to prepare the people for cooperation in the census

enumeration. For this purpose, the following means:

   i)     Auditory means;

   ii)    Visual means;

   iii)   Printed matters;

   iv)    Islamic Republic News Agency;

   v)     Friday prayers;

   vi)    Other

   i)     Auditory means :

   As the most important and basic means of mass communications, radio

has been used a month before the census enumeration and different

educational and amusing programmes as well as suitable reports and short

messages have been broadcast from national and local transmitters.
   ii)    Visual means :

   A variety of short educational, satinical or serious films as well as news

programmes, cartoons, interluaes, slides and short messages have been

prepared to be shown on the nation wide television networks and in the

cinema, theatres of the country starting from 10 days before the census


   iii)   Printed matters :

   From a month before the census enumeration, national and local

newspapers started printing reports about the census, and invited the people

to cooperate with the enumerators through messages printed in hold letters

at the bottom of their cover pages.

   iv)    The Islamic Republic News Agency :

   The mass media receive news and essays on the census through the

Islamic Republic News Agency. Therefore, weekly propaganda messages

have been communicated to the Iran from 2 to 3 month before the census

enumeration and daily messages were dispatched from a week before the

   v)       Friday prayers:

   A considerable number of people attend Friday prayers, which is

observed in all the cities of the country. Preceding the enumeration, and

urged the audience to cooperate with the enumerators.

   vi)      Other means of publicity:

   Providing posters in two types for urban areas and rural areas; issuing

memorial stamps; introducing the census to the people and asking for their

cooperation through printing some sheets of weekly programme on high

quality paper in suitable colours for distribution among school students;

putting up census placards in stadiums during athletic competitions; and

marking all the cars used by the consus enumerators with the census


10. Preparation of questionaire forms :

         For the 1996 census, five questionnaire forms have been prepared:

         Form 1 – Listing;

         Form 2 – Household Questionnaire;

         Form 3 – Collective Household Questionnaire;
       Form 4 – Village Questionnaire;

       Form 5 – Information of Household’s Death Questionnaire.

       After careful investigation of the results obtained from the pilot

census enumeration, questions to be inserted in census questionnaire and

their arrangement order were determined. Particular attention was paid to

the household questionnaire forms. This form is designed in such a way

that all the individual characteristics of each household member is recorded

in front of his / her name.

11. Census Enumeration of Unsettled Households:

       Enumeration of settled household in the urban and rural areas could

be achieved simply by calling at their dwelling places. Therefore, a special

executive organization was provided. However, There is a third community

which consists of nomadic trible and other unsettled households. A part of

this community which had settled in the rural and - even urban – areas by

the hime of the census enumeration were treated as regular settled

households. But the remaining, who lived outside of villages under tents or

similar duelling places, or while migrating, could not be reached in this

         Considering that such households were thinly scattered and very

mobile, and since they frequently changed their route of migration and their

temporary settlement places, the possibility of their omission from the

census enumeration was quite high. Therefore, measures had to be taken in

preparing the executive organization to ensure their maximum coverage

possible. To reach this purpose, enumeration of unsettled households were

achieved by calling at their first meeting. Then they were got a document

which showed they were enumerated.

12. Census Organization :

         Experiences obtained from the pilot census enumeration resulted in a

revision of the census organization. That is, the census head quarters

approved the fornation of groups and committees of the pilot census

organization in order to facilitate decision making and coordinating

activities relating to preparatory work, designing, and implementation of

the census.

   Census groups were as follow:

   i)       Executive and Mapping group;

   ii)      Publicity and Publication group;
   iii)   Technical and Training group;

   iv)    System and Data – Processing group;

   v)     Financial, procurement and Adminstreative group;

   vi)    Supervision, Evaluation and documentation group.

   Using the experiences obtained from the pilot census enumeration and

after Scrupulous studies of previous census organizations, The Executive

group designed the final population and Housing Census Organization. The

design of the census organization was prepared in two stages:

   i)     At the first stage, the organization chart showing census

          organization of province (ostan) and district (shahrestan) as ell as

          different staff categories together with a description of each was

          draw and approved.

   ii)    At the second stage, the urban, rural, and tribal population of

          every one of the 251 (district shahrestan) of the country were

          estimated through statistical calculations using different sources.

          Then, the census organization suitable for each district

          (shahrestan) was determined on the basis of population size and

          location of the relevant district (shahrestan).
   This chart indicated the number of staff in each employment category,

duration of employment in days, and date of the beginning and the end of


   The sam procedure was followed for determining. The census

organization of province (ostan). In this way, the manpower requited for

the census enumeration (including number, duration of employment,

geographical location, Specialization, etc.) were determined.

13. International Standard Classification:

      Standard Statistical Classifications which were used to coding of

answers were as follows:

- International Standard Classification of Occupations, (ISCO, 1988).

- International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic

  Activities, (ISIC, Rev 3, 1990).

- International Classification Status Employment (ICSE, 1986).

- International Standard Classification of Education, (ISCED, 1976).

- International standard Industrial classification of All Economic Activities,

 (ISIC, Rer 3, 19990)

- International Classification status Employment (ICSE, 1986)
- International Standard Classification of Education, (ISCED, 1976)

14. Data processing plan:

      In Iran, for the first time in 1996 OMR was used for reading mainly

population census questionnaires. Coding and marking have been done in

districts. Then all questionnaires were sent to the centres of provinces to be

processed by OMR. OMR equipment was distributed in the centres of

privinces. Because of uncentralized disseminatin it was necessary to apply

an accurate management system to control all procedures in provinces.

After processing, the all census documents were sent to the SCI and results

were disseminated.

15. Post Enumeration Survey (PES):

   In the 1996 population and Housing Census, the post enumeration

survey, aiming at estimating underenumeration of population in terms of

different factors such as lack of complete coverage of places and household

members, was executed. The results of the post enumeration survey were

not used for adjustment of the Census results. However, analysis of the
PES results helped to diagnose the factors contributing to the undercount,

so as to prevent them to affect the 2006 Cenus.

   It should be noted that there were following changes in the 1996 Census

compared with the previous ones.

   i)     Decrease in the lines of the household questionnaire.

   ii)    Increase in the questionnaire sheet (from one sheet to two sheets).

   iii)   Inclusion of the identity card number and serial number in the

          items of the Census questionnaire.

   iv)    Household lists existing in the Post Company of the Islamic

          Republic of Iran were used in most urban areas.

   Some of these changes increased the undercount of the population.

Moreover, the undercount in urban and rural areas as well as in different

areas varied. It seems that the analysis of the PES results may decrease the

undercount of the population in the 2006 Census.

   We hope that the post enumeration survey plan is designed as such that

the results of the census could be adjusted.
16. Publication of the Census Results:

   The optical mark reading (OMR) were employed for data capture for the

first time in the census. Therefore, the use of this method decreased the

data dissemination period, to less 6 month since the implementation of the


   As the results get compiled gradually according to schedule, publication

of reports will be stared and continued until early 1998.

   Avery large variety of statistical tables can be obtained from the results

of the census, from among which those most widely used have been


   The publication of census results will, therefore, take about 12 months

to be completed.

17. Using census results:

      After the completion of the census by the headquarters and its related

groups and committes, all the related activities concerning the census, such

as ad hoc studies, using census information, would be performed through

departments of the Statistical centre of Iran which are concerned with socio

– economic statistics.
      Some studies have been done to evaluate census results by of Own –

Children Method (OCM) and evaluation of age and sex reports.

Some ad hoc studies were as follows:

         - Population censuses at a glance

         - Selected table (National Results)

         - Analysis of women’s Activity and fertility

         - Analysis of women’s Activity and Education

         - Socio – Economic characteristics of women

         - Internal Migration

         - Population Indicators

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